John Lennon is Shot

John Lennon is Shot

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John Lennon, a former member of the Beatles, the rock group that transformed popular music in the 1960s, is shot and killed by an obsessed fan in New York City.

The 40-year-old artist was entering his luxury Manhattan apartment building when Mark David Chapman shot him four times at close range with a .38-caliber revolver. Lennon, bleeding profusely, was rushed to the hospital but died en route. Chapman had received an autograph from Lennon earlier in the day and voluntarily remained at the scene of the shooting until he was arrested by police. For a week, hundreds of bereaved fans kept a vigil outside the Dakota–Lennon’s apartment building–and demonstrations of mourning were held around the world.

John Lennon was one half of the singing-songwriting team that made the Beatles the most popular musical group of the 20th century. The other band leader was Paul McCartney, but the rest of the quartet–George Harrison and Ringo Starr–sometimes penned and sang their own songs as well. Hailing from Liverpool, England, and influenced by early American rock and roll, the Beatles took Britain by storm in 1963 with the single “Please Please Me.” “Beatlemania” spread to the United States in 1964 with the release of “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” followed by a sensational U.S. tour. With youth poised to break away from the culturally rigid landscape of the 1950s, the “Fab Four,” with their exuberant music and good-natured rebellion, were the perfect catalyst for the shift.

READ MORE: When Beatlemania Swept the United States

The Beatles sold millions of records and starred in hit movies such as A Hard Day’s Night (1964). Their live performances were near riots, with teenage girls screaming and fainting as their boyfriends nodded along to the catchy pop songs. In 1966, the Beatles gave up touring to concentrate on their innovative studio recordings, such as 1967’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band, a psychedelic concept album that is regarded as a masterpiece of popular music. The Beatles’ music remained relevant to youth throughout the great cultural shifts of the 1960s, and critics of all ages acknowledged the songwriting genius of the Lennon-McCartney team.

Lennon was considered the intellectual Beatle and certainly was the most outspoken of the four. He caused a major controversy in 1966 when he declared that the Beatles were “more popular than Jesus,” prompting mass burnings of Beatles’ records in the American Bible Belt. He later became an anti-war activist and flirted with communism in the lyrics of solo hits like “Imagine,” recorded after the Beatles disbanded in 1970. In 1975, Lennon dropped out of the music business to spend more time with his Japanese-born wife, Yoko Ono, and their son, Sean. In 1980, he made a comeback with Double-Fantasy, a critically acclaimed album that celebrated his love for Yoko and featured songs written by her.

On December 8, 1980, their peaceful domestic life on New York’s Upper West Side was shattered by 25-year-old Mark David Chapman. Psychiatrists deemed Chapman a borderline psychotic. He was instructed to plead insanity, but instead he pleaded guilty to murder. He was sentenced to 20 years to life. In 2000, New York State prison officials denied Chapman a parole hearing, telling him that his “vicious and violent act was apparently fueled by your need to be acknowledged.” He remains behind bars.

John Lennon is memorialized in “Strawberry Fields,” a section of Central Park across the street from the Dakota that Yoko Ono landscaped in honor of her husband.

The Troubled History Of John Lennon

Few people have had a more profound influence on pop culture and music than John Lennon. With Paul McCartney, he's one half of arguably the greatest songwriting partnership of all time. With the Beatles, he claimed to be "more popular than Jesus." He was one of the most famous anti-war advocates of his time, and his solo career spawned such time-tested hits that the merest mention of the word "imagine" is likely to make that song play in your head.

Still, despite his significant accolades and a life spent in a brighter spotlight than almost any other artist, Lennon's time in this world was far from blissful. In fact, his personal life was a nigh-continuous stream of chaos and disastrous events — some cast upon him by cruel fates, others caused by his own, often less-than-pleasant demeanor. Come, let's dig deep in the dark underbelly of the controversial ex-Beatle's life. This is the tragic real-life story of John Lennon.

Mark David Chapman, man who killed John Lennon, said in parole hearing he wanted 'glory'

He was "angry and jealous" at the way Lennon was living, documents say.

Mark David Chapman, the man who killed Beatles legend John Lennon, was denied parole for the 11th time during a hearing last month after saying he shot Lennon for "glory," according to a transcript of the hearing obtained by ABC News.

Chapman killed Lennon because he was "angry and jealous" at the way the Beatle was living and was seeking "glory" for himself, according to hearing transcripts.

"At the time my thinking was he has all of this money, lives in this beautiful apartment and he is into music representing a more cautious lifestyle, a more giving lifestyle," Chapman told parole commissioners. "It made me angry and jealous compared to the way I was living at the time. There was jealousy in there."

Lennon died on Dec. 8, 1980 after Chapman shot him in front of his Upper West Side apartment building, hours after Lennon had autographed an album for him.

When asked if anything in this thinking had changed during the last 40 years of his incarceration about why he shot Lennon, Chapman said it boiled to glory.

"It was just self-glory, period," Chapman said. "It was nothing more than that. It boiled down to that. There's no excuses."

Chapman said he had purchased the gun no more three months prior to the shooting. He left his wife in Hawaii to come to New York City, telling her he needed to find himself.

He had a list of three other potential targets in case Lennon did not work out.

"I came up with whatever famous people I could," the transcript said.

One of the commissioners said, "You called it glory and some might call it infamy," to which Chapman replied, "Infamy brings glory."

That statement, it appeared, sealed Chapman's fate.

"During the interview you stated you committed this murder to seek glory. You said 'infamy brings you glory,'" the panel decision denying parole stated. "This panel finds your statement disturbing. Your actions represented an evil act. The fact that today, almost 40 years later, you can still speak of what you did as something that you felt was a positive and in your mind gave you 'glory' at the time, is disturbing for this panel."

Had he been released, Chapman, who in prison has become a devoted Christian, pledged to become an evangelist.

"Look how low I went, but yet God still loves me and cares about me and has given me purpose and meaning in my life."

Chapman concluded his plea with a lengthy soliloquy and apology to Yoko Ono.

"I just want her to know that she knows her husband like no one else and knows the kind of man he was. I didn't. I just judged him from a book and I murdered him. He was in a book. He was extremely famous. I didn't kill him because of his character or the kind of man he was. He was a family man. He was an icon. He was someone that spoke of things that now we can speak of and it's great," he said.

Chapman continued, "Back in the '60s when you said the things that he said, you were a creep. I remember I was in my 20s and I was conscious of the times and the press and presidency and all of that and how they looked upon anti-war people. Now we realize that Vietnam was a horrible mistake. This has to go and you put your life on the line back then when you felt that way. This was the kind of man he was. I assassinated him, to use your word earlier, because he was very, very, very famous and that's the only reason and I was very, very, very, very much seeking self-glory, very selfish. I want to add that and emphasize that greatly. It was an extremely selfish act. I'm sorry for the pain that I caused to her. I think about it all of the time."


Mark David Chapman was born on May 10, 1955, in Fort Worth, Texas. [1] His father, David Chapman, was a staff sergeant in the U.S. Air Force and his mother, Diane (née Pease), was a nurse. His younger sister, Susan, was born seven years later. As a boy, Chapman stated he lived in fear of his father, who he said was physically abusive towards his mother and unloving towards him. Chapman began to fantasize about having king-like power over a group of imaginary "little people" who lived in the walls of his bedroom. He attended Columbia High School in Decatur, Georgia. By the time he was 14, Chapman was using drugs and skipping classes. He once ran away from home to live on the streets of Atlanta for two weeks. He said he was bullied at school because he was not a good athlete. [5]

In 1971, Chapman became a born-again Presbyterian and distributed Biblical tracts. He met his first girlfriend, Jessica Blankenship, and began work as a summer camp counselor at the South DeKalb County, Georgia YMCA. He was very popular with the children, who nicknamed him "Nemo" and was made assistant director after winning an award for Outstanding Counselor. [6] Those who knew him in the caretaking professions unanimously called him an outstanding worker. [7]

Chapman read J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye on the recommendation of a friend. The novel eventually took on great personal significance for him, to the extent he reportedly wished to model his life after its protagonist, Holden Caulfield. [8] After graduating from Columbia High School, Chapman moved for a time to Chicago and played guitar in churches and Christian night spots while his friend did impersonations. He worked successfully for World Vision with Vietnamese refugees at a resettlement camp at Fort Chaffee in Arkansas, after a brief visit to Lebanon for the same work. He was named an area coordinator and a key aide to program director David Moore, who later said Chapman cared deeply for the children and worked hard. Chapman accompanied Moore to meetings with government officials, and President Gerald Ford shook his hand.

Chapman joined Blankenship as a student at Covenant College, an evangelical Presbyterian liberal arts college in Lookout Mountain, Georgia. However, Chapman fell behind in his studies and became obsessed with guilt over having an affair. [9] [10] He started having suicidal thoughts and began to feel like a failure. He dropped out of Covenant College after just one semester and his girlfriend broke off their relationship soon after. Chapman returned to work at the resettlement camp but left after an argument. He then worked as a security guard, eventually taking a week-long course to qualify as an armed guard. In 1977, Chapman moved to Hawaii, where he attempted suicide by carbon monoxide asphyxiation. He connected a hose to his car's exhaust pipe but the hose melted and the attempt failed. A psychiatrist admitted Chapman to Castle Memorial Hospital for clinical depression. Upon his release, he began working at the hospital. [11] After Chapman's parents began divorce proceedings, his mother joined him in Hawaii. [10]

In 1978, Chapman went on a six-week trip around the world. The vacation was partly inspired by the film Around the World in Eighty Days. He visited Tokyo, Seoul, Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok, Delhi, Beirut, Geneva, London, Paris and Dublin. He began a relationship with his travel agent, a Japanese American woman named Gloria Abe, whom he married on June 2, 1979. Chapman got a job at Castle Memorial Hospital as a printer, working alone rather than with staff and patients. He was fired by the hospital, rehired, then got into a shouting match with a nurse and quit. After this, Chapman took a job as a night security guard and began drinking heavily. [11] He developed a series of obsessions, including artwork, The Catcher in the Rye, music, and the musician John Lennon. In September 1980, he wrote a letter to a friend, Lynda Irish, in which he stated, "I'm going nuts." He signed the letter, "The Catcher in the Rye." [12] Chapman had no criminal convictions prior to his trip to New York City to kill Lennon. [13]

Motive and planning Edit

Chapman allegedly started planning to kill English musician John Lennon three months prior to the murder. A longtime fan of Lennon's band the Beatles, Chapman turned against Lennon following a religious conversion, and was angry about Lennon's highly publicized 1966 comment that the Beatles were "more popular than Jesus.". [14] Some members of Chapman's prayer group made a joke in reference to Lennon's song "Imagine": "It went, 'Imagine, imagine if John Lennon was dead.'" [10] Chapman's childhood friend Miles McManushe recalled that he said that the song was "communist". [14]

Chapman had also been influenced by Anthony Fawcett's John Lennon: One Day at a Time about Lennon's lifestyle in New York. According to his wife Gloria, "He was angry that Lennon would preach love and peace but yet have millions". Chapman later said: "He told us to imagine no possessions and there he was, with millions of dollars and yachts and farms and country estates, laughing at people like me who had believed the lies and bought the records and built a big part of their lives around his music." [4] He also recalled having listened to Lennon's solo albums in the weeks before the murder: [15]

I would listen to this music and I would get angry at him, for saying [in the song "God"] that he didn't believe in God, that he just believed in him and Yoko, and that he didn't believe in the Beatles. This was another thing that angered me, even though this record had been done at least ten years previously. I just wanted to scream out loud, "Who does he think he is, saying these things about God and heaven and the Beatles?" Saying that he doesn't believe in Jesus and things like that. At that point, my mind was going through a total blackness of anger and rage. So I brought the Lennon book home, into this The Catcher in the Rye milieu where my mindset is Holden Caulfield and anti-phoniness. [16]

Chapman's planning has been described as "muddled." [17] Over the years, Chapman has both supported and denied whether he felt justified by his spiritual beliefs at the time or had the intention of acquiring notoriety. [3] The only time he made a public statement before his sentencing — and for several years afterward — was during a brief psychotic episode in which he was convinced that the meaning of his actions was to promote The Catcher in the Rye, which amounted to a single letter mailed to The New York Times asking the public to read the novel. [3] According to Chapman, he had an alternate hit list of potential targets in mind, including Beatles bandmate Paul McCartney, talk show host Johnny Carson, actress Elizabeth Taylor, actor George C. Scott, former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, just-elected US president Ronald Reagan, and Hawaii governor George Ariyoshi. In 2010, he said that the only criterion for the list was being "famous", and that he chose Lennon out of convenience. [18] Journalist James R. Gaines, who interviewed Chapman extensively, concluded that Chapman did not kill Lennon to become a celebrity. [3]

It is rumored that Chapman traveled to Woodstock, New York, during one of his visits to the state in search of Todd Rundgren, another target of obsession. Chapman was wearing a promotional T-shirt for Rundgren's album Hermit of Mink Hollow when he was arrested and had a copy of Runt. The Ballad of Todd Rundgren in his hotel room. Rundgren was not aware of the connections until much later. [19] On the day of the murder, singer David Bowie was appearing on Broadway in the play The Elephant Man. "I was second on his list," Bowie later said. "Chapman had a front-row ticket to The Elephant Man the next night. John and Yoko were supposed to sit front-row for that show too. So the night after John was killed there were three empty seats in the front row. I can't tell you how difficult that was to go on. I almost didn't make it through the performance." [20]

October – December 1980 Edit

Chapman went to New York in October 1980 intending to kill Lennon, but left to obtain ammunition from his unwitting friend in Atlanta before returning in November. [12] During his October trip to New York, Chapman was inspired by the film Ordinary People to stop his plans. He returned to Hawaii and told his wife that he had been obsessed with killing Lennon. Chapman showed her the gun and bullets, but she did not inform the police or mental health services. [10] Chapman later said that the message "Thou Shalt Not Kill" flashed on the television at him and was on a wall hanging that his wife put up in their apartment. [4] He made an appointment to see a clinical psychologist, but he did not keep it and flew back to New York on December 6, 1980. [10] At one point, he considered ending his life by jumping from the Statue of Liberty. [21]

On December 7, Chapman accosted singer James Taylor at the 72nd Street subway station. According to Taylor, "The guy had sort of pinned me to the wall and was glistening with maniacal sweat and talking some freak speak about what he was going to do and his stuff with how John was interested and he was going to get in touch with John Lennon." [22] He also reportedly offered cocaine to a taxi driver. [10] That night, Chapman and his wife talked on the phone about getting help with his problems by first working on his relationship with God. [4]

On the morning of December 8, Chapman left his room at the Sheraton Hotel, leaving personal items behind that he wanted the police to find. He bought a copy of The Catcher in the Rye in which he wrote "This is my statement", signing it "Holden Caulfield." He then spent most of the day near the entrance to the Dakota apartment building where Lennon lived, talking to fans and the doorman. Early in the morning, Chapman was distracted and missed seeing Lennon step out of a cab and enter the Dakota. Later in the morning, he met Lennon's housekeeper who was returning from a walk with Lennon's five-year-old son Sean. Chapman reached in front of the housekeeper to shake Sean's hand and said that he was a beautiful boy, quoting Lennon's song "Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)". [23]

Around 5 p.m., Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono were leaving the Dakota for a recording session at Record Plant Studios. As they walked toward their limousine without saying a word, Chapman held out Lennon's record for Lennon to sign a copy of his album Double Fantasy. [24] Amateur photographer Paul Goresh (1959–2018) [25] was standing by and took a picture as Lennon signed the album. Chapman said in an interview that he tried to get Goresh to stay, and he asked another loitering Lennon fan to go out with him that night. He suggested that he would not have murdered Lennon that evening if the girl had accepted his invitation or if Goresh had stayed, but he probably would have tried another day. [23]

Around 10:50 p.m., Lennon and Ono returned to the Dakota in a limousine. They got out of the vehicle, passed Chapman, and walked toward the archway entrance of the building. From the street behind them, Chapman fired five hollow-point bullets from a .38 special revolver, four of which hit Lennon in the back and shoulder, puncturing his left lung and left subclavian artery. [ citation needed ] [26] One newspaper later reported that Chapman softly called out "Mr. Lennon" before firing, then dropped into a combat stance. [27] Chapman said that he does not recall saying anything, and Lennon did not turn around. [28]

Chapman remained at the scene and appeared to be reading The Catcher in the Rye when the NYPD officers arrived and arrested him without incident. The first responders recognized that Lennon's wounds were severe and decided not to wait for an ambulance they rushed him to Roosevelt Hospital in a squad car. Lennon was pronounced dead on arrival. Three hours later, Chapman told the police, "I'm sure the big part of me is Holden Caulfield, who is the main person in the book. The small part of me must be the Devil." [29]

Chapman was charged with second-degree murder. He told police that he had used hollow-point bullets "to ensure Lennon's death". [30] Gloria Chapman had known of her husband's preparations for killing Lennon, but she took no action because Chapman did not follow through at the time she was not charged. [31] Chapman later said that he harbored a "deep-seated resentment" toward his wife, "that she didn't go to somebody, even the police, and say, 'Look, my husband's bought a gun and he says he's going to kill John Lennon.'" [32]

Mental state assessment Edit

More than a dozen psychologists and psychiatrists interviewed Chapman in the six months prior to his trial—three for the prosecution, six for the defense, and several more on behalf of the court—and they conducted a battery of standard diagnostic procedures and more than 200 hours of clinical interviews. All six defense experts concluded that Chapman was psychotic five diagnosed paranoid schizophrenia, while the sixth felt that his symptoms were more consistent with manic depression. The three prosecution experts declared that his delusions fell short of psychosis and instead diagnosed various personality disorders. The court-appointed experts concurred with the prosecution's examiners that he was delusional yet competent to stand trial. In the examinations, Chapman was more cooperative with the prosecution's mental health experts than with those for the defense one psychiatrist conjectured that he did not wish to be considered "crazy" and was persuaded that the defense experts only declared him insane because they were hired to do so. [3]

Charles McGowan had been pastor of Chapman's church in Decatur, Georgia, and he visited Chapman. "I believe there was a demonic power at work," he said. Chapman initially embraced his old religion with new fervor as a result but McGowan revealed information to the press that Chapman had told him in confidence, so Chapman disavowed his renewed interest in Christianity and reverted to his initial explanation: he had killed Lennon to promote the reading of The Catcher in the Rye. [3]

Guilty plea Edit

Chapman's court-appointed lawyer Herbert Adlerberg withdrew from the case amid threats of lynching. Police feared that Lennon fans might storm the hospital, so they transferred Chapman to Rikers Island for his personal safety. [33]

At the initial hearing in January 1981, Chapman's new lawyer Jonathan Marks instructed him to enter a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. In February, Chapman sent a handwritten statement to The New York Times urging everyone to read The Catcher in the Rye, calling it an "extraordinary book that holds many answers." [34] The defense team sought to establish witnesses as to Chapman's mental state at the time of the killing. [35] However, Chapman told Marks in June that he wanted to drop the insanity defense and plead guilty. Marks objected with "serious questions" over Chapman's sanity and legally challenged his competence to make this decision. In the pursuant hearing on June 22, Chapman said that God had told him to plead guilty and that he would not change his plea or ever appeal, regardless of his sentence. Marks told the court that he opposed Chapman's change of plea but Chapman would not listen to him. Judge Dennis Edwards refused a further assessment, saying that Chapman had made the decision of his own free will, and declared him competent to plead guilty. [7] [36] [37]

Sentencing hearing Edit

The sentencing hearing took place on August 24, 1981. Two experts gave evidence on Chapman's behalf. Judge Edwards interrupted Dorothy Lewis, a research psychiatrist who was relatively inexperienced in the courtroom, indicating that the purpose of the hearing was to determine the sentence and there was no question of Chapman's criminal responsibility. Lewis had maintained that Chapman's decision to change his plea did not appear reasonable or explicable, and she implied that the judge did not want to allow an independent competency assessment. [38] The district attorney argued that Chapman committed the murder as an easy route to fame. Chapman was asked if he had anything to say, and he rose and read a passage from The Catcher in the Rye in which Holden tells his little sister Phoebe what he wants to do with his life:

I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around – nobody big, I mean – except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff – I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all.

The judge ordered psychiatric treatment for Chapman during his incarceration and sentenced him to 20 years to life, 5 years less than the maximum sentence of 25 years to life. [39]

In 1981, Chapman was imprisoned at Attica Correctional Facility outside of Buffalo, New York. He fasted for 26 days in February 1982, so the New York State Supreme Court authorized the state to force-feed him. Central New York Psychiatric Center director Martin Von Holden said that Chapman refused to eat with other inmates but agreed to take liquid nutrients. [40] He was confined to a special handling unit (SHU) for violent and at-risk prisoners, in part due to concern that he might be harmed by Lennon's fans in the general population. There were 105 prisoners in the building who were "not considered a threat to him," according to the New York State Department of Correctional Services. He had his own cell, but spent "most of his day outside his cell working on housekeeping and in the library." [41]

Chapman worked in the prison as a legal clerk and kitchen helper. He was barred from participating in the Cephas Attica workshops, a charitable organization helping inmates adjust to life outside prison. He was also prohibited from attending the prison's violence and anger management classes due to concern for his safety. He told a parole board in 2004 what he would do if paroled: "I would immediately try to find a job, and I really want to go from place to place, at least in the state, church to church, and tell people what happened to me and point them the way to Christ." He also said that he thought that he could find work as a farmhand or return to his previous trade as a printer. [42]

Chapman is in the Family Reunion Program and is allowed one conjugal visit [43] a year with his wife, since he accepted solitary confinement. The program allows him to spend up to 48 hours alone with his wife in a specially built prison home. He also gets occasional visits from his sister, clergy, and a few friends. In 2004, Department of Correctional Services spokesman James Flateau said that Chapman had been involved in three "minor incidents" between 1989 and 1994 for delaying an inmate count and refusing to follow an order. [44] On May 15, 2012, he was transferred to the Wende Correctional Facility in Alden, New York, which is east of Buffalo.

Chapman refused all requests for interviews following the murder and during his first six years at Attica, later saying that he did not want to give the impression that he killed Lennon for fame and notoriety. [29] James R. Gaines interviewed him and wrote a three-part, 18,000-word People magazine series starting in 1981 and climaxing in February and March 1987. [3] [45] [46] Chapman told the parole board that he regretted the interview. [ citation needed ] He later gave a series of audio-taped interviews to Jack Jones of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, and Jones published Let Me Take You Down: Inside the Mind of Mark David Chapman, the Man Who Killed John Lennon in 1992. [47]

On December 4, 1992, ABC's 20/20 aired an interview with Barbara Walters, Chapman's first television interview. [48] On December 17, 1992, Larry King interviewed Chapman on his CNN program Larry King Live. [49] Jones asked Chapman to tell his story for Mugshots, a CourtTV program in 2000, with his first parole hearing approaching. Chapman refused to go on camera but consented to tell his story in a series of audiotapes. [ citation needed ]

Chapman first became eligible for parole in 2000 after serving twenty years in prison. Under New York state law, he is required to have a parole hearing every two years from that year beyond. Since that time, a three-member board has denied Chapman parole eleven times. Before Chapman's first parole hearing, Yoko Ono sent a letter to the board requesting that Chapman should stay behind bars for the remainder of his life sentence. [50] [51] In addition, New York State Senator Michael Nozzolio, chairman of the Senate Crime Victims, Crime and Correction Committee, wrote to Parole Board Chairman Brion Travis saying: "It is the responsibility of the New York State Parole Board to ensure that public safety is protected from the release of dangerous criminals like Chapman." [52]

Timeline Edit

  • 2000: At the 50-minute hearing, Chapman said that he was not a danger to society and that Lennon would have approved of his release. The parole board concluded that releasing him would "deprecate the seriousness of the crime and serve to undermine respect for the law" and that Chapman granting media interviews represented a continued interest in "maintaining [his] notoriety." They noted that Chapman had a good disciplinary record while in prison, but he had been in solitary confinement and did not have access to "anti-violence and/or anti-aggression programming." [53] Correctional Association of New York lawyer Robert Gangi said that he thought it unlikely that Chapman would ever be freed because the board would not risk the "political heat" of releasing John Lennon's killer. [54]
  • 2002: The board stated again that releasing Chapman after 22 years in prison would "deprecate the seriousness" of the crime, although his behavioral record continued to be positive, yet it was no predictor of his potential community behavior. [55]
  • 2004: The parole board held a third hearing and declined parole yet again. One of the reasons given by the board was that Chapman had subjected Yoko Ono to "monumental suffering by her witnessing the crime." Another factor was concern for Chapman's safety several Lennon fans threatened to kill him upon his release. Ono's letter opposing his release stated that Chapman would not be safe outside of prison. The board reported that its decision was based on the interview, a review of records, and deliberation. [41] By this time, approximately 6,000 people had signed an online petition opposing his release. [56]
  • 2006: The parole board held a 16-minute hearing and concluded that his release would not be in the best interest of the community or his own personal safety. [57][58] On the 26th anniversary of Lennon's death, Ono published a one-page advertisement in several newspapers, saying that December 8 should be a "day of forgiveness," but she was not sure if she was ready to forgive Chapman. [59]
  • 2008: Chapman was denied parole at his fifth hearing "due to concern for the public safety and welfare." [60]
  • 2010: In advance of Chapman's scheduled sixth parole hearing, Ono said that she would again oppose his parole, stating that her safety, that of John's sons, and Chapman's would be at risk. She added, "I am afraid it will bring back the nightmare, the chaos and confusion once again." [61] The parole board postponed the hearing in September, stating that it was awaiting additional information to complete Chapman's record. [62] On September 7, the board denied Chapman's latest parole application, with the panel stating that "release remains inappropriate at this time and incompatible with the welfare of the community." [63]
  • 2012: Chapman's seventh parole hearing was held before a three-member board, and they announced the next day that it was denied, on the grounds that they believed he would reoffend again. "Despite your positive efforts while incarcerated, your release at this time would greatly undermine respect for the law and tend to trivialize the tragic loss of life which you caused as a result of this heinous, unprovoked, violent, cold and calculated crime." [64][65]
  • 2014: Chapman's eighth parole application was denied. Chapman told the board, "I am sorry for being such an idiot and choosing the wrong way for glory.… I found my peace in Jesus. I know him. He loves me. He has forgiven me. He has helped in my life like you wouldn't believe." The board was unmoved, telling Chapman that it believed that "there is a reasonable probability that you would not live and remain at liberty without again violating the law." [66][67]
  • 2016: Denied for the ninth time. Chapman said that he now saw his crime as being "premeditated, selfish and evil." [68]
  • 2018: Denied for the tenth time. [69][70] The parole board wrote to Chapman that he was at low risk to reoffend, but that he "admittedly carefully planned and executed the murder of a world-famous person for no reason other than to gain notoriety. While no one person's life is any more valuable than another's life, the fact that you chose someone who was not only a world-renowned person and beloved by millions, regardless of pain and suffering you would cause to his family, friends, and so many others, you demonstrated a callous disregard for the sanctity of human life and the pain and suffering of others. This fact remains a concern to this panel." [71]
  • 2020: Denied for the eleventh time. [72] Officials said he was refused parole as "it would be incompatible with the welfare of society". [73] According to the tapes acquired by ABC News he sought glory in killing a member of the Beatles. [74]
  • 2022: Chapman’s twelfth parole hearing is scheduled for August. [75]

John Hinckley tried to assassinate President Ronald Reagan less than four months after Lennon's murder, and police found a copy of Catcher in the Rye among his personal belongings. [76] He left a cassette tape in his hotel room on which he stated that he mourned Lennon's death: "One of my idols was murdered, and now Jodie Foster's the only one left." He added that "anything that I might do in 1981 would be solely for Jodie Foster's sake." [77]

What was Mark David Chapman's motive for killing John Lennon?

Chapman, although a fan of Lennon, was upset by the Liverpool singer's views on God&mdashhe was particularly irked by a famous Lennon quip, about the Beatles being "more popular than Jesus," as well as the lyrics to later songs "Imagine" and "God."

Having recently had a religious conversion prior to his decision to kill the musician, religion and belief was the motive behind the murder.

Although he refused to talk to the press for years after his arrest, Chapman eventually supplied audiotaped interviews to journalist Jack Jones, who used them to write the 1992 investigative book "Let Me Take You Down: Inside the Mind of Mark David Chapman."

In the book, a sister of one of Chapman's friends Jan Reeves said that he was angry towards Lennon's claim about the band being more popular than Jesus, claiming that it was blasphemy.

Chapman was also said to be highly influenced by the book "John Lennon: One Day at a Time" by Anthony Fawcett, which explored Lennon's life in New York City.

Chapman's wife Gloria is quoted as saying: "He was angry that Lennon would preach love and peace but yet have millions."

Chapman later said: "He told us to imagine no possessions and there he was, with millions of dollars and yachts and farms and country estates, laughing at people like me who had believed the lies and bought the records and built a big part of their lives around his music."

He was also obsessed with the concept of anti-phoniness as agonized over by the fictional protagonist of "The Catcher in the Rye," Holden Caulfield.

"Saying that he doesn't believe in Jesus and things like that. At that point, my mind was going through a total blackness of anger and rage. So I brought the Lennon book home, into this 'The Catcher in the Rye' milieu where my mindset is Holden Caulfield and anti-phoniness," Chapman said in "Let Me Take You Down: Inside the Mind of Mark David Chapman."

The Shocking Murder of John Lennon

On December 8, 1980, John Lennon, the former Beatle and one of the most famous musicians of the 1960s and 1970s was mercilessly gunned down, shot in the back on a New York sidewalk, thus joining the ranks of peace lovers who were not allowed to be left in peace, men such as Abraham Lincoln, “Mahatma” Gandhi, Martin L. King Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy.

Digging Deeper

Digging deeper, we find Lennon, only 40 years old when murdered, writer and co-writer of so many great Beatles hits as well as so many of his solo songs, many of which dealt with peaceful themes such as “Imagine”, “Give Peace a Chance”, and “All You Need is Love” walking with his wife, Yoko Ono, back to his New York City apartment at about 10:50 pm on December 8, 1980, having been dropped off by his limousine some distance from the Dakota (the name of the building the Lennon’s lived in) instead of in the safety of the courtyard.

The assassin, Mark David Chapman, a 25 year old from Hawaii, had been waiting around outside the Dakota apparently to ambush Lennon, which is exactly what he did. When Lennon had passed Chapman, without so much as a word (discounted rumors to the contrary) the assassin fired a .38 Special caliber revolver 5 times at Lennon’s back, hitting the doomed singer 4 times. Lennon staggered to the doorman for help, but of course with 4 slugs in his back there was not much that anyone could do to save him. The doorman disarmed Chapman, who promptly removed his coat and sat down, awaiting the police. The concierge assisted the doorman, but was unable to accomplish any useful first aid.

Lennon was rushed to the hospital by ambulance and reportedly was still breathing on arrival, but was not breathing and had no heartbeat when the doctor first saw him. Frantic efforts to revive Lennon were made, even to the point of cutting open his chest and manually pumping his heart. It was to no avail, and John Lennon died of massive blood loss due to the bullet wounds, leaving a grieving Yoko Ono, son Sean, son Julian (from a previous marriage), and a world mourning the shocking loss of a beloved symbol of the 1960’s peace movement.

Lennon was cremated and his ashes scattered by Yoko in New York’s Central Park where a memorial to Lennon was later made. There was no funeral ceremony per his wishes, although people in New York (and around the world) gathered in throngs to sing his songs and mourn his passing.

Chapman had traveled from Hawaii in October of 1980 with Lennon’s murder in mind, but for some reason did not complete his evil plan at that time. On the tragic day, several hours before the assassination, Chapman incredibly had Lennon autograph a record album! Although Chapman appears to most normal people as some sort of mentally unbalanced person, the law is not quite so casual. Despite advice from his lawyer to try an insanity defense, Chapman instead pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life, with parole possible after 20 years. So far, he has been turned down for parole every 2 years for a total of 11 times as of the year 2020. Nobody really knows why Chapman killed Lennon, but one reason Chapman gave was Lennon’s observation that the Beatles were “more popular than Jesus.” Chapman also claimed to be offended by the apparent hypocrisy of Lennon’s public opinions about materialism and the fact that Lennon was quite rich. Imagine if this great talent had another 20 or 40 years to bless us with more of his genius. We miss him.

Question for students (and subscribers): Why do so many men of peace die violently at the hands of deranged people? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.

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Here, for the first time, the Mail publishes all five together — a prologue to one of the most shocking events in celebrity history.

In the first one, never before published, Lennon has emerged from the Dakota building and is pictured from behind.

Next he is with Chapman, signing his album. Then he is looking at Chapman with cassette tapes in one hand, autograph pen in the other.

After that he turns to the camera just as Goresh's flash fails — a ghostly image. And finally he is at the car that will take him to the recording studio.

The sad irony is that when Lennon was gunned down at the age of 40, he had just started writing songs and making records again after a five-year 'retirement' and was feeling as good about the future as any chronically dissatisfied genius ever could.

It was almost a decade since he had left Britain for New York, weary of being chained to his smiley Beatle image even after the band's break-up, and sickened by the abuse hurled at Yoko by fans and the media alike.

With the radical Yoko as his spur — rather than PR-minded Paul McCartney as his brake — he had plunged into revolutionary activism while fighting the U.S. Government's efforts to deport him on the strength of a minor drug offence in London in 1969.

After signing Double Fantasy album for the 25-year-old former security guard, John Lennon is photographed getting into his limousine - and is thought to be the last picture of him alive

Pictured, the original negative of, what is thought to be, the last photograph of John Lennon alive

The marriage with Yoko, his obsession for the past five years, seemed to have soured and in 1973, tired of his blatant infidelities, she had banished him to Los Angeles for the 18 months of drunken frolicking with rock pals he would later call his 'lost weekend'.

Finally, in 1976, he had managed to acquire a Green Card, allowing him permanent residency in the U.S. — and Yoko had given birth to their son Sean.

John had decided to bring up Sean as a 'house husband', a novel concept in the late 1970s. So the pampered rock star learned childcare and even to cook, while Yoko looked after his business, cannily investing in real estate and even a herd of valuable Holstein cattle.

In those years John was no recluse and was seen regularly in the neighbourhood of the Dakota, eating in restaurants or pushing Sean in a stroller through Central Park.

He often said what he liked most about New York was being allowed his space and privacy. So personal security — as even minor stars have now — was non-existent.

In 1979 he had started writing songs again and the result was an album, Double Fantasy, on which Yoko and he had a side each. It revealed a very different John Lennon from the restless rebel the world remembered.

Songs such as Woman and Beautiful Boy celebrated his newfound security as a husband and father, and he returned to the singles charts with (Just Like) Starting Over, which seemed to promise more the same mature spirit.

He was even planning to return to Britain, chartering the liner QE2 to sail up the River Mersey to his native Liverpool.

New York in 1980 could hardly be called a safe place. Shootings and muggings were rife. In his revolutionary days, John had denounced the police as 'pigs' now he and Yoko donated $1,000 towards bulletproof vests for Manhattan street cops.

In fact, for months before John's death, the superstitious Yoko had lived in dread of something bad happening to her husband.

After signing the record album, John Lennon turns to the camera just as Goresh's flash fails, providing a ghostly black-and-white image

Chapman told Paul Goresh that he had travelled all the way from Hawaii to get his album signed. Pictured, the original Kodacolor negative taken by Paul Goresh of John Lennon

She consulted a Japanese numerologist who claimed to see 'clouds of evil' around him — and had four psychics on her payroll, to predict the immediate future.

One of them reported seeing a vision of a woman with long hair weeping uncontrollably, but she thought that meant her sister.

Mark Chapman had arrived in New York on Friday, December 5, 1980, flying from Hawaii, where he lived with his Japanese-American wife. He was a Beatles fan, as the 11 hours of their music on tapes in his rucksack showed.

But his hero-worship of John had turned to hatred.

He believed that by accumulating wealth, property and pedigree cattle, John had 'betrayed' the spirit of The Beatles. And he claimed voices in his head were telling him this could be avenged only by 'blood'.

He was also obsessed by Holden Caulfield, the anarchic narrator of J.D. Salinger's novel The Catcher in the Rye, and believed John's murder would allow him to be transformed into Caulfield.

He hung around outside the Dakota on December 6 and 7 but didn't see John until the Sunday, when he 'snatched' some photographs of him, then fled.

The next day, Paul Goresh arrived outside the Dakota just before noon with his camera and a copy of John's book A Spaniard In The Works, which he hoped to persuade its author to sign.

As he took up his usual vantage point, he was approached by a pudgy young man in a thick coat, holding a copy of the Double Fantasy album.

'He said, 'Hi, my name's Mark. I came all the way from Hawaii to get my album signed,' Goresh remembered. 'But when I asked where he was staying he got really aggressive, so I said 'go back to where you were standing and leave me alone'.'

When Lennon emerged, Goresh approached him with the book he wanted autographed. While they were talking, Chapman came up and thrust the Double Fantasy album in front of Lennon.

When Lennon was gunned down at the age of 40, he had just started writing songs and making records again after a five-year 'retirement'. Pictured, the original Kodacolor negative of John Lennon signing the album for Chapman

Paul Goresh had a short conversation with Chapman outside the Dakota when they were both waiting for John Lennon on December 8, 1980. Pictured, original negatives showing Paul Goresh with John Lennon on November 17, 1980

'He didn't say anything,' Goresh recalled. 'Eventually, John said 'Do you want me to sign this?' so I took a shot of him doing it.'

Lennon's car to the Record Plant hadn't shown up and he stood there at a loss until a crew from RKO Radio in San Francisco — who had just taped what would turn out to be his last interview — also emerged from the Dakota.

The RKO crew had a car waiting to take them to the airport, and DJ Dave Sholin offered to drop John at the Record Plant on their way. The atmosphere was so relaxed, Goresh took more pictures.

John spent the evening at the Record Plant playing guitar on a Yoko solo track, Walking On Thin Ice. When the session ended at 10.30pm, she suggested dinner at the Stage Deli but he insisted on returning to the Dakota to say goodnight to their son.

Even then, disaster might have been avoided if their car had been driven into the building's courtyard. But it parked at the kerb.

Chapman opened fire, hitting him four times. When the police arrived minutes later, they found John beyond help and his killer leaning against a buttress, calmly reading The Catcher In The Rye.

The negatives of Goresh's one known Lennon image and four unknown ones became part of his vast collection of Beatles memorabilia, their existence unknown to newspapers and magazines.

Goresh died in 2018, having handed the collection to a dealer on the understanding it would not be sold during his lifetime.

Ken Farrell, from the auctioneers Just Kids Nostalgia, calls the five last pictures of Lennon 'one of the most important groups of [Beatles-related] images to come to market in many years.'

Untimely Deaths of Famous People Who Mocked God – Fiction! and Unproven!

Summary of eRumor:
A forwarded email with examples of untimely deaths of people who mocked God. The email quotes Galatians 6:7 and lists a group of people who all mocked God and died. The first example is of former Beatle John Lennon who said that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus. Also included in the list are Marilyn Monroe, a rock singer who sang that he was on a “Highway to Hell”, a Brazilian president elect, a Brazilian singer and the man who built the RMS Titanic.
The Truth:
This eRumor suggests that God wiped out certain people for statements they made about him. Whether that is true is known only to God, but we can explore whether they really made the statements attributed to them.

John Lennon (1940-1980) did say in 1966, “Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn’t argue about that. I’m right and I will be proved right. We’re more popular than Jesus now. I don’t know which will go first – rock n’ roll or Christianity.” Fourteen years later, Lennon was shot dead by Mark David Chapman in New York City on December 8, 1980.

The American teen magazine “Datebook” reprinted the “We’re more popular than Jesus” interview which caused a stir of protests and a rash of Beatle record and memorabilia burnings on the streets in the US. Beatles manager, Brian Epstein released a statement saying that the words of John Lennon had been taken out of context and while in Chicago Lennon and the Beatles called a press conference and apologized to the world for his comment.

The band heard of threats from the Ku Klux Klan, predictions that they would all die in a plane crash or a hurricane. This was about 2 years after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the band made a decision to stop touring and focus their attention to work in the recording studio.

YouTube Video of the John Lennon Comment about Jesus

John Lennon was a Rock and Roll musician who co-founded the popular British Invasion Band called the Beatles in the 1960’s. Lennon and co-writer Paul McCartney wrote hundreds of songs together along with George Harrison and Ringo Star and together they remained at the top of the charts for nearly a decade.

Lennon was notorious for his little quips and often answered reporter’s questions off answers the top of his head. One of the earliest remarks like these was when asked how the Beatles found America, Lennon responded, “Turn left at Greenland.”

The Fab Four might have began in England but they gained European popularity in the rock and roll school of hard knocks working the taverns of Hamburg Germany. The band returned to England where they were discovered playing at a nightclub by Brian Epstein who landed them a record deal and there first hits “Please Please Me” and “Love Me Do” skyrocketed them to fame. Their 1963 US tour the U.S. included a Sunday Night live performance on the Ed Sullivan Show which introduced the for mop tops to the nearly every American family. The band had a long run on the hit parade and in 1969 broke up and each Beatle pursued their individual solo careers. In the Beatles Anthology documentary , George Harrison said, “They gave their money and they gave their screams, but the Beatles kind of gave their nervous systems. Which is, you know, much more difficult thing to give.”

In his book, “Skywriting By Word of Mouth”, Lennon wrote that he and the group had grown weary of touring and thanked Jesus for the comment that drove the band from the road and into the studio where they recorded their most creative projects.

After the breakup of the band, John Lennon wrote a couple of songs about God. In his first solo album Lennon wrote, “God is a concept, by which we can measure, our pain.” This was a song where John list Beatles, Bible, Jesus, Zimmerman (Bob Dylan), kings, yoga, Kennedy, and mantra as things that he does not believe in and says he just believes in himself and his wife Yoko.

Seven years before his death, in 1973, Lennon’s biggest solo hit entitled “Imagine” included the lyrics, Imagine there’s no Heaven, it’s easy if you try. No Hell below us, above us only sky.” Many interpreted the song to be a message against religion but this was John Lennon vision of the world living in peace and not fighting over spiritual ideals or materialism.

The question is, why would God wait so long to smite John Lennon?

Tancredo Neves (1910-1985) He was elected president of Brazil in January 1985. Neves underwent surgery before his inauguration and was unable to take office. Vice president elect José Sarney Costa temporarily assumed the presidency. Neves never recovered and died from complications following his surgery. We have not found any evidence that he made the statement about God.

Cazuza (4 April 1958 – 7 July 1990) was a Brazilian composer, singer and poet who was noted for mixing the Bosse Nova with British and American Popular music styles. According to his obituary in the July 8, 1990 New York Times, the openly bisexual Cazuza died of aids at the age of 32, not lung cancer. We have not found any evidence that he mocked God. Click for obit.

Marilyn Monroe (1926 – 1962) was married at the age to 21 to her first husband, Jimmy Dougherty. According to the bio on Monroe’s official web site, Dougherty, said of his wife, “She was a sweet, generous and religious girl.” Monroe was reared as a foster child in a devoutly Christian family in Hawthorne, California but there is not much information about what her spiritual beliefs were before she died. Monroe’s death was ruled to be “acute barbiturate poisoning” by Los Angeles County Coroner, Dr. Thomas Noguchi. A spokesperson for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association told that there was no discussion between Marilyn Monroe and Billy Graham.

Bonn Scott (July 9th, 1946 – February 19, 1980) was the co-writer of the ACDC 1979 popular song “Highway to Hell” and at the age of 33 was pronounced dead on arrival at Kings College in London, England. The cause of death was asphyxiation as a result of vomiting after passing out after a night of heavy alcohol consumption. The song Highway to Hell lyrics referred to the self destructive lifestyle of the rock and roll artist with the lyrics: “Hey Satan, payin’ my dues. Playing in a rocking band. Hey Momma, look at me I’m on my way to the promised land. I’m on the highway to hell.”

The RMS Titanic was built in 1911 for the White Star Line at the the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast in the United Kingdom. According to the web site an unknown White Star Line employee at the time of Titanic’s launch on May 31, 1911 said, “Not even God himself could sink this ship.” It is not known who this person was or if in fact he built the Titanic. is still investigating the other stories in this eRumor.

The Bible quotation in the eRumor taken from Galatians 6:7 but was used out context to the text surrounding it. The Apostle Paul’s letter to the Galatians is about Grace, Christian living and the sixth chapter warns against being condescending and instructs on helping others who fall into sin.

Second Trip to New York

When he arrived in New York, Chapman checked into a local YMCA, because it was cheaper than a regular hotel room. However, he was not comfortable there and checked into the Sheraton Hotel on December 7.

He made daily trips to the Dakota building, where he befriended several other John Lennon fans, as well as the building’s doorman, Jose Perdomo, whom he would pepper with questions about Lennon’s whereabouts.

At the Dakota, Chapman also befriended an amateur photographer from New Jersey named Paul Goresh, who was a regular at the building and well known to the Lennons. Goresh chatted with Chapman and would later comment how little Chapman seemed to know about John Lennon and the Beatles, considering he had claimed to be such an avid fan.

Chapman would visit the Dakota regularly over the next two days, hoping each time to run into Lennon and commit his crime.

This Day In History: John Lennon Is Murdered (1980)

On this day in 1980, John Lennon was assassinated outside his New York home. Lennon was one of the most famous men in the world. He was a renowned singer-songwriter and his records sold in the millions. Lennon was a cultural icon and the hero of a generation. Lennon had become famous with his band the Beatles. The band had been formed in Liverpool, England. Lennon and his fellow bandmate Paul McCartney soon began to write some of the greatest popular music of all time. The group took the world by storm and became a cultural phenomenon. So popular were the Beatles, that Lennon once bragged that they were more popular than Jesus.

By 1970 the Beatles had broken up and Lennon embarked on a solo career. He was much influenced by his second wife Yoko Ono, a renowned Japanese artist. Lennon by now had moved to New York and he loved the Big Apple. The FBI investigated Lennon because the establishment feared his influence over young people. President Richard Nixon believed that Lennon could use his influence with young people in an upcoming Presidential election. The authorities tried to rescind his Green Card because he had a conviction for drug possession. Lennon had to hire one of the best immigration lawyers in New York to defend himself and Yoko.

The Dakota, where Lennon lived in New York and where he was killed.

,Lennon was killed on this day by Mark Chapman. He was a crazed fan. Chapman had travelled from Hawaii with the specific intention of killing Lennon. He was able to purchase a gun in a pawn shop and laid in wait for Lennon outside his home in the Dakota Building. Lennon always liked to chat with his fans and rarely refused an autograph. Chapman had talked to Lennon and had him autography an album. Lennon happily did this and he later left in his limousine. Later he returned, as usual, there was a small crowd waiting for him. Among them was Chapman, who had not left and had remained standing outside the building. He later told police that he was determined to kill Lennon. As he stopped to chat with fans, Chapman approached him and shot at him five times, hitting him four times. Chapman had used hollow-pointed bullets. A policeman was the first to arrive and he had Lennon taken straight to the hospital. Lennon was taken to a local hospital and despite efforts to save him he died. News of the murder of Lennon caused a widespread outpouring of grief around the world. Mark Chapman was arrested at the scene. He had not tried to escape and after shooting Lennon he sat down and read the JD Sallinger novel the Catcher in the Rye. This novel he would later claim inspired him to kill Lennon. Chapman was sentenced to life imprisonment. He has tried to obtain parole several times but his appeals have all been denied.

Watch the video: John Lennon talks about Paul McCartney calls him his best friend.